Basic Croatia Facts
Location:Where is Croatia? Croatia is in Southeastern Europe across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Much of the country borders the sea – Croatia has about 590 miles of coastline (not including islands). Croatia borders Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Istria is largest peninsula in Croatia, located on the very west part of Croatia. It looks like a triangle and is very popular destination for tourist and travellers due to it’s close vicinity to Italy, Slovenia and Austria, as well as it’s large coastline, full of small and larger bays with hundred of places and villages offering tourist services. The largest peninsula of the Adriatic Sea, is situated close to Venice and Italy. Usually described as the ‘Croatian Tuscany’ because of its green interior, narrow roads, vineyards and medieval hill towns and villages. It is perfect for a holiday in a countryside, enjoying very good local wine and delicious local food. Pula is the largest city in Istria, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula. Pula’s pride rests in its wide array of Roman monuments, most impressive of which is the magnificent Arena, erected in 27 B.C. After Rome’s Colosseum, today it is arguably the finest and most intact Roman amphitheater in the world. Michelangelo and Piranesi took inspiration from the nearby Triumphal Arch of the Sergii, distinguished by its coffered archways and winged Victory statues. The noble Temple of Augustus, still intact after 2,000 years, displays a beautiful collection of friezes.
Dalmatia – Dalmatia is Croatian region located on the very South of Croatia. It includes hundreds of Croatian islands as well as mountains Velebit , Biokovo and Sveti Ilija on Peljesac peninsula. With only 50 km wide at its widest part, it is mostly a coastal region characterized by its coves, secluded beaches, islands and inlets. Due to the rugged coastline and numerous islands of all sizes and topographies, diving, yachting, kayaking and other outdoor activities are very popular in this part of Croatia. Dalmatian coast is known for its warm sea, constant winds and beautiful wooded islands.There is evergreen vegetation. The largest Dalmatian islands are Brač, Korčula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Vis, Hvar, Pag and Pašman. The major rivers are Zrmanja, Krka, Cetina and Neretva.
Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik are stunning, timeless medieval towns with wide coastal boulevards, marble fountains, monasteries, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. During summer art, food and music fill the theaters, plazas, galleries and streets of those cities and the atmosphere is awesome. There are a lot of attractive tourist rivieras and resorts spreads accross Dalmatian coast like Omis, Makarska, and Rogoznica are among the most popular travel destinations in Croatia. There are 3 national parks also : National parks Paklenica, the island of Mljet, Kornati archipelago have a prominent landscape that can be explored safely. Kvarner – The Kvarner Gulf is the area in Northern part of Croatian Adriatic, bordered by Croatian mainland and Istrian Peninsula. Kvarner is one of the closest points of Adriatic Sea to Central and Western Europe, therefore, because of it’s vicinity and mild climate, Kvarner was very popular tourist destination for Western Europeans since the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 19th century.
Kvarner – The Kvarner Gulf is the area in Northern part of Croatian Adriatic, bordered by Croatian mainland and Istrian Peninsula. Kvarner is one of the closest points of Adriatic Sea to Central and Western Europe, therefore, because of it’s vicinity and mild climate, Kvarner was very popular tourist destination for Western Europeans since the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 19th century.
Sheltered by soaring mountains, the Kvarner Gulf has long been loved by visitors attracted by the mild climate and cobalt waters, and those in search of more than just beach appeal. In the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the wealthy built holiday homes here, bestowing places like Rijeka and Opatija with a rich legacy of stately Habsburg-era architecture. From both of these neighbouring towns you can easily connect to hiking trails inside the protected forests of Učka Nature Park and Risnjak National Park. The islands of Cres, Lošinj, Krk and Rab all have highly atmospheric old port towns and stretches of unspoiled coastline dotted with remote coves for superb swimming. Wildlife puts in an appearance too: Cres has an important griffon vulture population and Lošinj has a marine centre devoted to preserving the Adriatic’s dolphins and turtles.
Gorski Kotar and Lika – Gorski Kotar is the mountainous region of central continental part of Croatia , located between Karlovac and Rijeka. Gorski Kotar borders with Lika and Kvarner regions. Gorski kotar means “mountain district” as large part of its territory is densly. Lika is a mountainous region in central Croatia, roughly bound by the Velebit mountain on the Southwest.
The most astonishing place to see and a must visit - Plitvice national Park : Within the boundaries of this heavily forested national park, 16 crystalline lakes tumble into each other via a series of waterfalls and cascades. The mineral-rich waters carve through the rock, depositing tufa in continually changing formations. Clouds of butterflies drift above the 18km of wooden footbridges and pathways which snake around the edges and under and across the rumbling water.
Hrvatsko Zagorje -Hrvatsko Zagorje is north-west region of Croatia. Its northern border lies at River Sutla at the border with Slovenia, which is the western border while River Lonja the eastern. The southern border of the Zagorje touches the slopes of Medvednica and city of Zagreb. Hrvatsko Zagorje includes areas around Krapina and Varaždin as well as outskirts of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Zagorje region begins north of Mt Medvednica (1035m), near Zagreb, and extends west to the Slovenian border, and as far north as Varaždin, a showcase of baroque architecture. Whether you want to feast on hearty cuisine at rustic restaurants, dip into the hot springs, get a taste of village life or tour ancient castles, with Zagorje you’re in for an offbeat treat.
Despite its proximity to Zagreb, the bucolic northern region of Zagorje receives few tourists, even at the height of summer – especially surprising given the delightful villages, medieval castles, endless vineyards and thermal springs that speckle its rolling hills. These leafy landscapes, with Austrian-influenced food and architecture (and the same prices year-round), present a nice alternative to the busy Mediterranean south and a good escape from the summer heat. You’ll find it blissfully crowd-free, although slightly less so on weekends, when day-tripping families from Zagreb storm the area.
Slavonia – Slavonia is Croatian region located on the very north-east of Croatia. It cover the area between River Sava and Drava and borders with river Danube (Dunav) on the East. Slavonia is a flat and fertile area so it’s important source of food fro whole of Croatia. Slavonia is also known for it’s Djakovo Lipicaner Horse Breed, that is bred in Djakovo for centuries.
Pancake-flat, river-rich Slavonia is all but untouched by tourism, with unique natural wonders and delicious regional cuisine. The wetlands of Kopački Rit are one of Europe’s finest ornithological reserves, perfect for boat tours, biking and hiking. Osijek, Slavonia’s largest town, has a lovely riverfront setting and fortress quarter, while the Baranja region is renowned for its wineries. Bordered by three major rivers (Sava, Drava and Danube), this fascinating region has long held strong connections with Hungary, Serbia and Germany. Slavonia’s key appeal lies in this culturally intriguing mix that makes it closer to Central Europe than coastal Croatia.
Climate and weather
Croatia is divided into two predominant climate regions – Continental and Mediterranean although there are some variations within those climate zones. As everywhere, Croatia’s climate is determined by its geography, which is characterized by a mixture of mountains, plains, forests and a long littoral belt.
Croatia’s coast and islands, from Istria and Kvarner in the north through to Dalmatia in the south are governed by a Mediterranean climate, although it is usually several degrees cooler in the northern Adriatic than in the south. In the summer, the mean temperature is between 28°C and 32°C along the coast. In winter, the coast has a mean temperature of 2°C in the north and 9°C in the south.
As a rule, summer is the driest season along the coast and winter is the rainiest season, with twice the amount of precipitation as the summer. Croatia’s islands can be very dry (especially the islands furthest from the mainland). For example, the island of Vis averages only 557 mm of rainfall per year while the island of Brač averages 952 mm. Snow is a rare occurrence anywhere along the coast.
The Croatian interior, which includes Zagreb and Slavonia, is separated from the coast by the Dinaric Mountains and has a completely different climate. Winters get cold, with the mean temperature in January ranging from 0°C to -2°C. In July, the mean is approximately 29°C although strong heat waves have become more frequent.
The mountains of Croatia such as the Velebit range and Medvednica (near Zagreb) are cooler and get more precipitation. In winter the mean temperature ranges from -2°C to -4°C and above 1,500 m it is a few degrees colder. Snow is common in the higher elevations, providing Croatia with a ski season. In summer the mountains are a temperate 20°C to 25°C, which makes them a pleasant escape from the coastal heat.